Friday, February 24, 2012

1946 - Make Mine Music

1945 - Make Mine Music

Well, here we are with another anthology, this time conceived as “Kind of like Fantasia, only without all that froo-froo smart people music.” This, and the next few, are technically in the post-war era, but a lot of the development was during the war, hence the relative cheapness. I was reading something by an animation historian who said it’s unfair to judge these through modern eyes, a sentiment similar to those I’ve expressed here previously. But you know what? I’m going to stop feeling bad about that. Modern eyes are the only ones I have, and it’s not like all stuff from the 40s is automatically bad. It’s a Wonderful Life came out this same year, and while it’s not remotely ’timeless’, it’s still a hell of a good movie. So let’s see how this mix holds up, one by one.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

1942 - Bambi


All right, so Dumbo made big bank, and Disney was now free to go for higher pursuits. Walt had long been enamored with the German nature novel “Bambi: A Life in the Forest”, and after several attempts by other studios to make a live-action version, had acquired the rights. Was the world ready for an artistic, environmental film with no humans in it? Would children be as interested in animal mating as the filmmakers were? What the heck gender is Flower? And how was anyone planning to do this in live action? Twitterpated? So am I. So grill up a venison steak, you heartless monster, and let’s talk about Bambi.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

1944 - The Three Caballeros

1944 - The Three Caballeros

Well, what with the success (both political and financial,) of Saludos Amigos, Disney decided to stick with a winning formula for their next film and make another South American travelogue. With more confidence, more money, and less direct government influence, this one would be less blatantly propagandistic, have a more cohesive plot, and actually be something like a real feature length. I never thought I’d think those were bad things. Sintiendo una conexión más profunda con nuestros vecinos del Sur? También estoy. Así que algunos burritos y margaritas, y vamos a hablar de Los Tres Caballeros.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another brief delay

I think it makes sense to follow Saludos Amigos directly with The Three Caballeros, so rather than the usual weekend post, I'll be doing that on Wednesday evening and then finally getting to Bambi on Saturday. In the meantime, enjoy this very well-done montage. I do question the use of the Dragonheart theme, but hey, it is a hell of a theme.

Weird thing: tomorrow, I'm actually going to be working for Disney (via a temp agency) at an event. I'M INSIDE NOW, BABY.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

1942 - Saludos Amigos

First of all, I know you were expecting Bambi this week, but there was a snag in the writing, so I’m skipping ahead into the start of the Anthology Age. Normally, at the start of an age, I’ll discuss my reasons for grouping these movies, but this one has a distinct and interesting origin story all its own…

Whenever I mention this undertaking to anyone, I find that this is the first film that makes them say “Huh?” You can expect a lot of that this month. With the war in full swing, money was tight, and people didn’t want in-depth storytelling, as the success of Dumbo and failure of Bambi showed. So Disney refocused on making collections of shorts for their feature releases. And they were given a little help in this direction by the State Department, of all things. See, the governments of South America were getting pretty cozy with the Axis powers, and the people of the USA were all, as we have seen, pretty racist, and so didn’t care. Uncle Sam knew this was no good, and figured a good ol’ dose of propaganda would set ‘em straight. So they paid to have Disney and his team flown all over the continent to make a series of shorts, showing the people of North and South America that they’re not so different after all. Swelling with fraternal brotherhood? So am I. So get a big bowl for feijoada and a frosty caipirinha, and let‘s talk about Saludos Amigos.